Saturday, October 2, 2010

When I grow up I want to be....

called a sock knitter!

Back on New Year's Day of 2007, I (for the first and only time in my life) gave myself two resolutions. The first was to learn to knit with multiple colors using intarsia and fair isle, and the second was to learn to knit socks. I've been practicing them ever since. 

And so today, I give you a pair of socks. Not just ANY socks. But socks for my Mom! This past summer her yellow slacks were one of her favorite pairs she picked to wear over and over again. When I walked into The Stitching Well, some Wildfoote yarn jumped right out at me and was the perfect color match for Mom's slacks. (yes, she wears slacks, not pants-there is a difference. She's 82, after all.)
I like the way the socks show up in this picture....
And this one...
But this picture shows the color much more accurately. Here are the particulars...
"Island Fudge" socks by Phyll Lagerman in her Michiganisms! line of patterns,  in women's large for size 11 narrow feet. Lantern Moon's sox stix in (US) 2 (2.75mm) needles, knit two at a time, Brown Sheep's Wildfoote 50 g wool (times two skeins) in SY-34 Lullaby color. They have not been blocked, yet. I need to find some sock blockers first. Then they'll be washed and blocked before I give them to Mom. Now, I also have to talk myself into waiting until her birthday in December to gift them to her. That might be the biggest problem yet! I'm terrible with hand knit gifts, I tend to want to give them asap. But then, I'd have to knit something else up in the meantime. See my dilemma?

Yes, I will knit these socks again, only in a much smaller size for me as well as many of her other sock patterns. After all, a Michigan girl HAS to have a slew of Michigan themed socks, right? Even if I only wear them for 2 months out of the year!

So, what did I do last night?
Cast on another pair of socks, but this time they're for me! I'm dropping the needle size down to a (US) 1 1/2 (2.5mm) on this pair. My feet aren't either size small or medium, but somewhere between the two. So, my hope is that if I knit the size medium directions with a smaller sized needle, pay attention to the actual length that I need, they just might feel like 'real socks'.

Every time I go into another yarn store, I go and touch their knitted socks. My aren't as 'tight' a gauge as I've found. Yet. So I keep asking what their tricks are. Smaller needles! Duh! I knew that, it's called...are you ready for it? Gauge.
Here's the particulars for this pair of socks: Lace Rib socks from The little box of Socks (don't you just loveeeeeeeeeeee Charlene Schurch's patterns?) Crystal Palace double point needles in (US) 1 1/2 (2.5mm), Brown Sheep's Wildfoote wool two 50 g skeins of SY-47 Surf Board Blue.  I have others that I'd like to knit socks for, but want to practice on my feet, first getting that 'just right' fit. Why?
Because I either need to send my relatives to China and have them start practicing foot binding, or find some smaller footed family members. Here's my size 6 1/2 wide socks next to Mom's 11 narrow socks. Can you see a difference? 'Just a bit', 'eh? I think it's a wiser idea to practice sock sizing on smaller feet. But what do I know? I'm still learning.


Laura said...

Socks are my most fav thing to knit. Make sure to try anything written by Wendy Johnson, esp her toe up socks. I didn't buy my blockers, I got a couple of dollar store plastic place mats and traced out my own. One trick I learned over the years is to knit as tight a guage as possible (mine are usually 8-10 sts/inch), they always wear better. If you are looking for the best long wearing sock yarn that doesn't mind a washing machine - Regia by far is great. I know mostly I have been a lurker on your blog but enjoy reading it regularly. If you should need any help/suggestions etc feel free to email me.

Loving the current blue socks btw


Cathy said...

Hi Laura, thanks for the information on the socks...yes, I have Wendy's books, been a blog fan of hers for a very long time. But, 8-10 sts?????? Holy freakin' cow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought I was doing well to get my stitch count down to 7.5! From a girl who knits mostly with 10 and 10.5's, I guess I have a ways to go!

KnittySue said...

Hi Cathy,
I'm currently doing a pair of socks that are 10spi a break from my normal 7-8. I want them to be warm and durable so I'm using sz.1 needle also. I like sz.2 but they just seem too airy if you know what I mean. But with sz.1's I swear I feel like I'm knitting for days and not getting far. But I'll forge on determined to have a pair knitted with the 1's that so many use and compare them to the others I have. I too am a Michiganian..Between Pt.Huron and Detroit on the water. Love your blog and miss your updates when your away. Good luck with the socks..I'll post mine when they're finished.

Deb said...

Cathy, I must say: you are indeed a sock knitter! What beautiful socks for your Mom! I know that she'll love them!

Once you figure out your gauge, you'll be be able to figure out your own formula for socks for you. I wear size 8 women, but I have an extremely wide width. (EEEE), so if I'm using US size 0 (Wendy's favorite), I CO 66-72 sts. Size 1, I CO 62-64 sts. Size 2, I CO, 60-64 sts. Size 3, 58-60 sts, but it all depends on the weight of the yarn, too.

I haven't tried this yet, but you can make sock blockers from wire coat hangers. Just google.

I have the Little Box of Socks, too. Check out Charlene Schurch's books SENSATIONAL SOCKS & MORE SENSATIONAL SOCKS. Some say these are the only socks you'll ever need...they're like sock Bibles. LOL!

Practice makes perfect. Keep going, you're doing great!

Cathy said...

And here I thought getting down to 7 sts/inch was a feat accomplished! 10psi? oh my! I have more to learn! (this is cool!)

Cathy said...

Deb, I knew about the gauge thingy and 'creating' your own socks, my issue all along was training my figers to GET down to that size with the needles and thread. Remember, my baby afghans are knit on sizes 10 and 10.5 needles and I'm currently developing a line of patterns on size 15's! So, learning what it 'feels like' to knit down to a 7/inch was a big deal!

Now, as to the 2 books, ummmm..way ahead of you...not only do I have those two, but 2 grocery sacks worth that are currently being loaned out to a good friend of mine. I've been collecting the books as long as I've been collecting the sock yarn! I tend to read, read, read before I pick up the needles to learn something new. I want to know all the pitfalls (or at least a lot of them) before I make a huge mess of things.

So, ya, once I had the Hat's On! book, anything she writes is on my radar list!